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Admiral SN Kohli

Admiral SN Kohli, Padma Bhushan, PVSM
Chief of the Naval Staff
(01 Mar 1973 – 29 Feb 1976)

Admiral Sourendra Nath Kohli took over as the Chief of the Naval Staff on 1 March 1973. Prior to this appointment, he was Flag officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, the largest command in the Navy.

Born on June 21, 1916, Admiral Kohli was educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. He joined the Indian Navy as a cadet in May 1936 and proceeded to the United Kingdom for training. He was commissioned into the Royal Indian Navy on 25 June 1938. He qualified as a Communication Specialist in the United Kingdom in 1943. During the Second World War, Admiral Kohli saw action in the Persian Gulf and also the Far Eastern theatre.

After Independence, he was one of those specially chosen to head the expanding Indian fleet. He was deputed to the United Kingdom in December 1948 in connection with acquisition of destroyers and was appointed Commanding Officer of INS Rana when the ship was taken over from Royal Navy. Among the important appointments held by him since then are senior officer of the Navy’s former Flag Ship , INS Godavari and later Commanding Officer of the Navy’s former Flagship, INS Mysore.

On his appointment as the superintendent of the Naval Dockyard at Bombay he was promoted to the Rank of Commodore. Admiral Kohli has served in a number of staff appointments in addition to seagoing commands and has the distinction of having been twice Director of Naval Plans. He has been the Naval Adviser in the UK and has served as Principal Staff Officer in Naval Headquarters, first as the Chief of Material and then as Vice Chief of Naval staff. Admiral Kohli rose to Flag rank in August 1965. As Rear Admiral, he commanded the Indian Fleet from 1967 to 1969, spearheaded by the carrier INS Vikrant. He was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for exceptional and distinguished service in January 1968.

Prior to this taking over as Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Naval Command, Bombay, on February 12, 1971, Admiral Kohli was, for two years, the Commandant of the of the National Defence College, which is the highest seat of learning in the politico-military field of over Country.

During the December 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, Vice Admiral Kohli was responsible not only for all naval operations in the North Arabian Sea but also entrusted with the defence of our coastline from the borders with Pakistan to Goa. In addition, he was the controlling authority for the safe routing of the entire Indian mercantile fleet. The Western Fleet under his intrepid and imaginative leadership was instrumental in delivering crippling blows on the Park Navy. The daring raids on Karachi have passed into the annals of naval warfare as master stroke of offensive policy. After the war, he was awarded the Padma Bhushan for “Demonstrating exceptional ability, sagacity and fortitude in putting into effect the several plans for the defence of our harbours and coastline”.

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Published on: 2005-02-21 (3433 reads)

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